One Girl, Two Cities

Find one-of-a-kind items at Northern Clay Center

northern clay center 4Don’t you love it when you stumble upon a place you didn’t know existed and it’s filled with one-of-a-kind treasures? I had a little time to kill in the Seward neighborhood so I took a walk and came across a window filled with beautiful pottery. Northern Clay Center touted their Holiday Boutique on a sign outside, so I headed in where it was nice and warm to take a look. I immediately felt like Dorothy in Return to Oz when she was trying to find the green ornaments in the Nome King’s palace.

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Everywhere I turned had a collection of work from a different artist, many local but also many from all over the United States. I especially love the collection below, where each piece was created by a different artist.

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I chatted with the staff person, and he told me the back space was open to the public, so I could see works in progress and maybe even check out some artists in action. In my wandering, the gorgeous crystalline pieces by Lois Ann Helgeson below caught my attention, so I reached out to her with some questions like how she got into pottery, what she uses for inspiration, and about any particularly special pieces. You can read her response below.


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“My background is a combo of architecture/landscape architecture, so art and design have been a part of my life for a long time. Working with ceramics is a more recent addition – if a couple of decades can be considered recent – with the same skills being used. I enrolled in ceramics classes as an adult plus collected and read a lot of books. Then I stumbled onto a short class on crystalline glazes and was hooked. I love the combination of art and science, as you not only create the pieces but you also invent the glazes and determine the firing schedules. (I think that I am the only one who took the original class who still works with these glazes!) I also am an avid gardener and do flower arranging so many of my pieces are usable for that purpose. [The vase below] is partially wheel thrown and partially hand built. I used it to make an arrangement a couple of years ago for the Minneapolis Institute of Arts Art in Bloom event.” ~Lois Ann Helgeson

Photo courtesy of Lois Ann Helgeson

Photo courtesy of Lois Ann Helgeson

That vase is pretty amazing, isn’t it? Many thanks to Lois for taking the time to share it for this post! I really just loved the feeling of being in such a creative space and seeing how much talent people find within themselves.

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What’s a place you’ve stumbled upon that you ended up falling in love with? Please share in the comments! I Like You is one other shop that I can thing of. And if you’re curious about what I was doing in the Seward neighborhood… Well, I was about to customize my own chocolate bar! Click here to read all about it.

Northern Clay Center

2424 Franklin Avenue East

Minneapolis, MN 55406

Purchases through Local Deals help support One Girl, Two Cities.

2 thoughts on “Find one-of-a-kind items at Northern Clay Center

    1. Laura VanZandt Post author

      How fun, Cadry! I haven’t been to NKB so maybe (if you’d like) I’d be free to go with you when you’re here. There’s so much to do; can’t wait to see what you decide to explore. 🙂

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